Rifle Roundup: ShowLow Mfg. Black-Jack With A Gideon Optics Sight

And we're adding 50 rounds of Magpul drum magazine goodness to sweeten the deal.

by
posted on May 31, 2024

Today we’ll be looking at a slightly different take on the pistol caliber carbine, as well as an inexpensive 1x prism sight and a true “high capacity” magazine. 

ShowLow Manufacturing Black-Jack 9mm Rifle: MSRP $1,749

The popularity of the pistol caliber carbine (PCC) has blossomed in the past dozen years. Gun owners are realizing that having an easy to shoot gun that’s more accurate than a pistol might be a good thing for home defense, and the introduction of PCC-specific divisions in most practical shooting sports has furthered this trend.

Show Low Manufacturing has taken this movement in a different direction, with large-format pistols and PCC’s that have the look and feel of the AK style firearms rather than the more-common AR style gun. The Black-Jack Rifle is a full-sized carbine with a 16.1 inch threaded barrel. The barrel is covered by a handguard festooned with M-Lok slots and topped with a full-length section of Picatinny rail. That threaded barrel and full-length rail are just two of the signs that the Black-Jack is a cut above your regular AK. In addition to this, rather than use a short-stroke piston system, the Black-Jack has a blowback action that makes it easy to disassemble and easy to mount an optic on the receiver.   

The Black-Jack uses CZ Scorpion magazines, and the good news there is that Magpul makes a variety of magazines for that platform (more on that in a bit). On the range, the gun is ridiculously easy to shoot, with the 9mm round barely lifting the muzzle, and the simple blowback action makes it relentlessly reliable. If you’re a fan of the AK and are looking to dabble your toes in the PCC water, the Black-Jack rifle is something you should definitely investigate.

Gideon Optics Advocate 1x Prism Sight: MSRP $229.99

I’ll admit up front that I am a fan of the 1x prism optic. I have terrible eyesight, and for me, most “red dot” optics are “red vaguely-comet-shaped-blob” optics, thanks to my astigmatism. The etched reticle inside of a prism optic solves this problem, at the cost of a smaller eye box behind the sight.

The Gideon Optics Advocate is a prime example of the close-range prism optic. At 1x power, it’s not the best optic for the long range shot, but the “always on” nature of an etched reticle is a very handy thing to have on a defensive firearm. The reticle can be illuminated if needed, and features a 2 MOA triangle for precise shots and a 105 MOA circle for when a “minute of bad guy” aiming point will suffice.  

Gideon Optics has a reputation for creating solid optics that’ll do the job for most American gun owners, and this optic continues that trend. It may not be my first choice if I need to do a night time parachute jump behind enemy lines, but until that happens, this optic gives me the clarity and performance I need to get hits on targets I’d expect to engage with a PCC.

Magpul 50 Round Drum for the CZ Scorpion EVO 3: MSRP $124.95

Why? Because reloading is a silly process, that’s why, which is reason enough for this magazine to exist. Well that, and it’s really, really fun to use. This Magpul 50 round magazine itself has a built-in speedloader that moves each round further into the drum as you load it, making it surprisingly easy to fill to full capacity. If you’ve ever used a speedloader for smaller magazines, you’ll immediately understand how the built-in version on this drum works.

Magpul knows a thing or two about building solid, reliable magazines, and that experience shows up in this 50 round monster. Fully loading it did take a while, but once everything was packed in tight, there were no malfunctions of any kind when in use.

If there is a downside to this magazine, it’s that it’s a little heavy and a little awkward compared to the 35 round alternative. This shouldn’t be surprising, as there’s a entire box of ammo stuffed inside of it. On the other hand, this also means more uninterrupted time sending round after round downrange, which is a very good thing indeed.

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